The Beginner’s Guide To Addiction Rehab


Addiction rehabilitation centers are specialized centers that help people who are struggling with addiction to become sober and maintain their sobriety.

While rehab is something that is often casually mentioned, many people don’t know what to expect.

In this article, we will explain exactly what rehabilitation centers are and the difference between them. Read on to find out more about:

  • What addiction rehab is
  • How addiction works
  • What substances and behaviors can lead to addiction
  • Types of rehab programs and how they differ from each other
  • How addiction rehab centers work
  • What to expect from rehab centers
  • How to choose the right rehab center
  • How to maintain sobriety after rehab
  • How much rehab stays cost.

Let’s get into it.

What is Addiction Rehab?

Addiction rehab (also known as rehabilitation) centers are places or practices that aim to help someone who is struggling with addiction take back control of their lives.

There are many different types of rehab programs, and each may have slightly different aims.

They help people who are dependent on various drugs (including alcohol) to manage their addiction.

Rehabilitation programs work by incorporating a number of medical and other addiction management experts to help a person begin to recover from addiction.

These professionals often include doctors, psychologists, and behavioral therapists who aim to address the physical, emotional, and social aspects of addiction that are needed in recovery.

Rehabs often differ in what they offer, but most will help in the immediate stages of recovery.

Rehabilitation centers often help someone detoxify from the drug they are addicted to. This means they help them come off the drug while managing withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings.

Addiction rehabs often help people to:

  • Come off drugs initially (detoxification)
  • Manage withdrawal
  • Offer therapy and psychological support from experts
  • Give medication to manage symptoms
  • Build skills to cope with recovery outside of rehab
  • Educate you about addiction and give you tools for recovery.

Understanding Addiction

Addiction is a medical condition that occurs when someone becomes dependent on a harmful substance, whether that be drugs such as alcohol and opioids or behavioral addictions such as gambling.

Addiction is a complex disease and involves changes in brain chemistry as well as changes to one’s everyday life.

While there is a lot of stigma around addiction, it is a common disorder that often negatively impacts all aspects of someone’s life.

Oftentimes, psychological factors such as stress, trauma, and financial instability feed into addiction and make people much more prone to the development and maintenance of addiction.

For some people, addiction will be an entirely new phenomenon. Meanwhile, for others who grew up around addiction, it will be something that is ingrained.

No two stories of addiction are the same. Addiction is a complex medical condition that has been studied for centuries, and while research is still ongoing into how to treat addiction, many tools have been developed to try and help people who suffer from addiction.

Common Substances Leading to Addiction

  • Alcohol
  • Nicotine
  • Opioids, including prescription painkillers such as oxycodone and codeine, as well as illegal drugs such as heroin
  • Stimulants, including drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine
  • Sedatives, including benzodiazepines (benzos) and barbiturates
  • Cannabis.

Behavioral Addictions

  • Gambling
  • Internet addictions
  • Gaming addiction
  • Sex and pornography addiction
  • Shopping
  • Eating disorders.

Types of Addiction Rehab Programs

Not all addiction programs look the same. Different people will likely benefit from different treatment structures, so it is important to know the difference between each one:

Inpatient Facilities

When most people think of rehabilitation centers, they will often be thinking of inpatient facilities.

Inpatient rehab centers offer help to people who struggle with addiction by providing a highly structured environment with 24-hour supervision and support.

These centers require people to live in the facility for a certain amount of time. For some people this will be a few weeks; for others, it may be months.

Inpatient rehabilitation centers are often recommended for people who struggle with severe addiction, patients who also have mental health disorders or those who have struggled with sobriety in other rehabilitation settings.

Inpatient rehabilitation facilities offer a range of services, from helping people first come off drugs and therapy sessions to medicating and developing coping strategies for life outside of rehab.

Outpatient Facilities

Outpatient services do not require people to live at the center. Instead, they offer support to people while they still live at home.

Patients will often attend treatment sessions at the facilities but are not required to give up work or school, making them more flexible.

Programs will often run for a few hours a day, or week, depending on what your needs are.

They are best suited for people who experience a milder form of addiction or people who have stayed in an inpatient facility and are transitioning back into life away from rehabilitation centers.

Specialized Programs

Specialized programs can be either inpatient or outpatient programs. They are designed specifically for a certain population’s needs.

For example, there are some specialized treatment programs for teenagers that are specially designed to help them manage their addiction and become sober.

Other specialized treatment programs available include those for veterans, pregnant women, and working professionals.

These populations may need specific support that is provided by highly trained professionals.

How Addiction Rehab Programs Work

Rehab may work differently depending on whether it is run as an inpatient or outpatient program.

However, many of them will involve detoxification, therapy, and counseling, along with medication-assisted treatments.


After your medical needs as well as addiction history have been evaluated, a plan will be made together with a trained professional to work out the next steps.

The first step is often detoxification.

This stage is designed to clear your body of addictive substances. Detoxification is a key stage to recovery and is best managed by rehabilitation facilities that have the tools to manage withdrawal symptoms safely.

They may also recommend other medications to help ease you off these substances.

Therapy and Counseling

Therapy and counseling are important in addiction recovery and are offered in rehabilitation centers. They can be offered individually, in groups, or to families.

These sessions aim to identify the root cause of addiction and educate people on how to manage various triggers that hinder sobriety.

Group therapy sessions may also help people to express themselves to others who have been in similar situations, as well as offer their support to one another.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Oftentimes, FDA-Approved medications will be used in rehabilitation centers to help people in their recovery.

These medications can help in the initial detoxification stage, as well as to maintain sobriety.

These medications can help manage withdrawal symptoms, reduce drug cravings, and block the effects of drugs if relapse occurs.

The Rehab Process: What to Expect

The rehabilitation process is new to many people. It is important to know that you will be guided into the process at every stage, with someone supporting you and explaining how it works.

The general process often includes:

  1. Assessment: This includes assessing your medical needs, as well as the severity of your addiction. With this information, a treatment plan will be created for you, outlining the next steps
  2. Detoxification: In this stage, doctors will help you to come off the addictive substance. This often includes strict supervision and management of withdrawal symptoms with medications
  3. Therapy and Education: Rehabilitation centers will help you identify the root cause of your addiction, and will help treat any underlying medical conditions.

They will also help you manage cravings and triggers, as well as help develop skills to cope when you leave rehab

  1. Peer Support: Rehabilitation centers are often social. Often, you are encouraged to work alongside others to help manage your addictions and support one another
  2. Planning: When your stay comes to an end, often after a few weeks or months, you will be helped to come up with a plan to maintain your sobriety after rehab
  3. Ongoing Support: Rehab centers often offer support after your stay, to help you manage sobriety back at home.

How To Choose the Right Addiction Rehab Program

Not all rehab programs are the same. Often, your family doctor can help recommend a center based on your needs.

You should also consider the severity of your addiction or if you have tried to become sober before. If this is the case, inpatient facilities may be best.

There are also specialized programs that may be suited to different people, such as teenagers, pregnant women, or veterans.

Like anything, it can be helpful to read reviews to find the best facility. Asking your insurance provider which places are covered may also be beneficial.

Life After Rehab: Maintaining Sobriety

Once your stay at a rehabilitation center nears an end (or you are close to being discharged from an outpatient unit), you will work with a professional to set up a plan to help manage your sobriety outside of rehab.

Maintaining sobriety is challenging and is a huge task for many people. However, with the right support and skills, it can be managed.

Attending support groups, keeping up with therapy sessions, and managing/avoiding triggering situations are great ways to support your own sobriety.

How Much Are Addiction Rehab Programs?

Unfortunately, rehabilitation stays come at a cost.

Often, insurance coverage will help support your stay. If you are eligible for Medicaid support, your rehabilitation stay is frequently paid for in many states.

Additionally, government-funded or non-profit organizations can help to provide low-cost or free rehabilitation stays.

  • Inpatient stays: $5,000 – $30,000 per month
  • Outpatient: $200 – 2,00 per month
  • Luxury rehab: $20,000 – $100,000 per month


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